WERA recently sent the below letter to the Balham Ward Councillors regarding the ongoing saga of the 255 bus route extension:
Dear Cllrs King, Ellis and Usher
I am emailing you on behalf of the Weir Estate Residents Association. We are a collective and strong voice for all residents who live on the Weir Estate, Weir Road SW12, and we seek to represent the views and concerns of residents in a fair and unbiased manner to bring much needed change and improvement to their lives.
We have been following closely over the last few years the issues with the proposed extension of the single decker 255 bus route from Streatham Hill to Balham Station.
We are strongly in favour of the proposed extension, and write to you to outline our reasons for this.
The proposed extension to this route will allow more mobility for the residents of this whole area, to and from the two main town centres close to where they live; Streatham and Balham. Many of the elderly and vulnerable residents are unable to make the journey into town centres by themselves, and some are therefore housebound due to this – by extending this bus route, it will allow these residents to have a freedom, and improve their lives dramatically. There is very low car ownership on our estate, and the safety of our community is paramount to the association, primarily the safety of women during the months when nightfall draws in earlier, and to help the elderly, vulnerable and disabled residents to be able to have more easy access to local town centres, as currently there is no transport provision to this area.
We understand that Old Devonshire Road residents have had concerns regarding this, namely due to increased congestion in a road that already has congestion issues at peak times to do with Travis Perkins and Balham Mosque. Travis Perkins will shortly be moving from Old Devonshire Road, over the border to Weir Road in Lambeth, hence there will be less congestion caused by this. We understand there is no desire from the Old Devonshire Road residents to have this bus route, but in the long term, this has to be looked at from a community perspective, and not just individual residents, and whether they actually want the route or not. We have spoken to a resident of Old Devonshire Road, who once they realised the impact of not carrying out this extension, and the affect it has to the elderly, vulnerable and disabled in the community they have changed their mind, and are now in favour of this proposal. We would be happy to come out and explain to residents of Old Devonshire Road the reasons why having this bus route is so vital to our community. We do not want to cause an argument, but only present the difficulty of the residents on Weir Estate and the surrounding areas of having such an inaccessible transport situation.
This bus route will provide a great interchange between many transport links, as well as links from local sheltered housing accommodation and schools into the main town centres.
In these times of environmental concern, all organisations, as well as local authorities are under increased pressure to ensure they have a sustainable future. I am sure Wandsworth council will be trying to help reduce local traffic congestion and pollution, and contribute to reducing carbon emissions by encouraging their residents, members and employees to use local transport as much as possible. Therefore, encouraging TfL to adopt new transport links, such as this proposed link from Streatham Hill to Balham.
Transport for London have revised the plan and we would therefore urge you to re-think your decision, and seek to support the proposal of this route, and move forward to have the service implemented as soon as possible.
For and on behalf of the Weir Estate Residents Association